Friday, March 22, 2013

Buy the Farm

These guys are little, but there's larger versions available, at a $400 price tag. Now, that's REALLY buying the farm!
My whole family has always had a "thing" for stuffed animals. My sister made them have not just tea parties, but rather extensive tableaus; my mother had an entire community in her bedroom, complete with names and life histories. My attachment, to my Snoopy, was pretty epic. In short: we know stuffed animals.

With that said, I usually gravitate toward the cuddly rather than the stiff. By stiff, I mean Steiff, that legendary German brand that creates realistic stuffed animals that resist any love or squish you try to give them. They are beautiful, but prickly. These mini fur and feathers series, from Japanese artist Kiyoshi Mino, are handcrafted using a needle, thread, and a lump of pure wool. This wild and wooly farmland line up is representational without being wholly realistic; there's a certain homespun charm to them. I can see them now, either gracing a windowsill in an adult home or inhabiting the imaginative block built world of some lucky child. I particularly fancy the donkey.

Anyway, at $50 a pop, these barnyard critters aren't cheap. They are, however, relatively affordable yet cuddly art, and that's a rare commodity. At ODLCO.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toy Clean Up in One Swoop

Look at this orderly little boy who suddenly morphs into a Sherpa. It's a dream!
My daughter is older now, but when she was a toddler, I remember the toy nightmare scattered in an even layer throughout the house. There's nothing like getting a Barbie high heel embedded in your foot at 2am. Toy clean up and wrangling was always a problem.

I really wish this product had been around back then; I would've had one for practically every room! Called The Swoop, this toy bag is more like a soft toy playpen. Simply throw all the toys (from stuffed ducks to errand Legos) into the Swoop and drawstring it shut. It's very easy to then tote the whole toy mass from place to place. Plus, it opens up completely into a partially padded toy area, keeping much of the mess confined (unless your kid is a truly dedicated thrower). Easy to carry, easy to stash away, easy to convert into a play mat, this Swoop is a damn good idea. It even comes in a mini version for travel. And, a bunch of Swoops take up less space than toy baskets or boxes.

This would make an ideal baby shower gift, as it can morph from a portable mat to toy storage over the years. And, at $48, it's fairly reasonably priced. Plus, it's an ideal storage solution for all those small spaces we're now forced to inhabit (NYC, anyone?). At Swoop.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Am Woman, Watch Me Wreck

Just think of the power you might wield. Speak softly, and carry a pink wrecking bar.
I know a lot of women (and men, but this is a gift for either women or very, very secure men) who are going through remodels. And whether it's kitchen, bath, closet, or bedroom, it's always a series of small catastrophes followed by gasps of encouraging activity. It's frustrating, but almost always ultimately worth it.

Thus, I present what I feel is the perfect gift for the remodeling woman: the hot pink wrecking bar. Yes, this artistic object, made by Philip Iosca, is a real wrecking bar, capable of yanking out filthy old cabinets and fixtures with ease. But, it's also bright pink. Pink is not my favorite color, but in this case I think it's just perfect. Plus, once the remodel is done, you can stick it under your bed as a last ditch weapon (it's probably about as good a club as a Maglite, and bearing less risks than bearing arms).

This is a pricey little item at $75. It would also make a splendid Mother's Day gift for that handy yet testy mommy. At the wonderful color coded site, JNRL STR.